Rated NFE (Not for Entertainment)

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By John Pawlak

“Where The Wild Things Are ... a poignant, heartfelt journey into the psycho-spiritual mind of a child, transmuting the fears and conflicts that parallel one’s personality into a thematic inner life of magical realizations. A blend of complex metaphors depicting the ethnographic diversity of life’s bittersweet corporeal lessons.”

Yeah, yeah, give me a break. It was a rotten movie. “Where the Wild Things Are” received acclamations by movie critics who apparently own very large Thesauruses and love to speak in iambic pentameter.

With only 10 sentences in the original book, the movie was stretched beyond topological limits to a mind-numbing 100 minutes of psychoanalytic drivel that had adults sleeping and children running out of the theater in tears. The only thing that made it bearable for me was the tertiary butylhydroquinone infused oil dripping over my popcorn.

The book portrayed whimsical pictures of monsters playing in the woods, jumping and leaping about as they danced. It stirred the imagination and brought out the child in all of us. The movie, however, was a typical example of directors on Cipralex. With “sweeping artistic interpretations,” they managed to ruin what should have been a funny silly movie. I’m sure that Freddy Krueger loved it though.

Sweeping artistic interpretations? More like sweeping fermented dead mice from the corners of one’s garage. The list of abused movie adaptations of children’s books is endless and this sad trend has been going on for some time now.

For example, “The Cat in the Hat” was the definition of cinematic carnage. In the book, the Cat was a scamp, a mischievous imp, but we couldn’t help but love him. In the movie, the cat (portrayed by Mike Myers) was a walking nightmare. He wasn’t cute or cuddly. He was downright scary, the poster boy for “Jason’s Halloween” with a potty mouth and a clear case of personality disorder.

Even worse was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of “The Grinch” as a cross between walking slime mold and Rosemary’s baby. The Whos were vile nasty creatures with absolutely no redeeming qualities. I found myself wishing that the Grinch would nuke the town and put them (and the theater audience) out of their collective misery.

Did you see the Garfield movie? A repulsive looking hairball droning for 80 minutes ... the best argument against gun control I’ve ever seen. And we’re supposed to believe Jennifer Love Hewitt would be interested in a brainless sap like Jon? Even comedies need a little grasp on reality.

Director Raja Gosnell brought “Scooby-Doo” to life, and after 10 minutes of suffering through possibly the worst animation in history, we found ourselves actually looking back at the cartoons with fond memories. Eating an all-bean lunch and then wearing a wetsuit the rest of the day would have been more pleasurable.

“The Polar Express” is another example of a simple book (34 pages long) stretched like rancid taffy into a 99-minute travesty. Well, the movie wasn’t really all that bad ... but come on, admit it. That kid was just plain creepy! And what was up with the glowing Santa? Did this guy sip a few too many radioactive eggnogs?

Even “The Flintstones” was messed up. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to dumb-down the original version. My main complaint was that it just wasn’t funny. And having Rosie O’Donnell play Betty? It’s criminal to scare kids like that!

But the gold medal winner of the Just How Bizarre Can We Get Olympics has to be “Howard the Duck,” a tortuous release back in the 80s.

Aside from a moronic plot, horrible acting, a script written by Darth Vader, special effects that made “Police Academy” look good, and a walking talking feathered-version abomination of a Munchkin, there isn’t much else good to say about it. The movie laid a bigger egg than Howard and ornithologically was more aptly deemed a turkey.

Now, I happen to really like kiddie movies. Who can resist a smile when watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Ratatouille,” “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “ET,” “Ice Age,” “Shrek,” “Finding Nemo,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Lion King,” “The Incredibles,” “Ponyo on the Cliff” ... there is a virtual warehouse of great children’s movies that are entertaining and have both kids and parents laughing for days afterwards. Real “feel good” movies.

Why do so many directors feel the need to pollute the big screen with their nausea fest renditions?

As if we haven’t suffered enough, Gosnell is now making a movie adaptation of “The Smurfs.” No doubt, the movie will be rated ‘R’ and audiences will finally learn how a society with only one female manages to thrive.